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Remember: Indian Summer

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Indian Summer

These are the days when birds come back,
A very few, a bird or two,
To take a backward look.
These are the days when skies put on
The old, old sophistries of June, -
A blue and gold mistake.
Oh, fraud that cannot cheat the bee,
Almost thy plausibility
Induces my belief,
Till ranks of seeds their witness bear,
And softly through the altered air
Hurries a timid leaf!
Oh, sacrament of summer days,
Oh, last communion in the haze,
Permit a child to join,
Thy sacred emblems to partake,
Thy consecrated bread to break,
Taste thine immortal wine!

- Indian Summer-Emily Dickinson

Indian Summer is defined simply as a meteorological phenomena that occurs following the first frost. A strong southern or southwestern wind pattern establishes itself and in turn pumps unseasonably warm across an area, resulting in humid and nearly summerlike weather long after summer itself has passed.

Over the last few weeks in the Lehigh Valley we have had a couple little Indian Summers and they certainly did not go by unnoticed. The parks were full of people taking in what I heard repeatedly referred to as “the last nice day of the year”.

I have made no secret of my distaste for hot weather. I loathe it. I do however enjoy Indian Summer if only for the weirdness that occurs on account of it. Amongst barren trees and in silent forests sits heat, and it is entirely confusing to all of the senses. You expect to see leaves. You expect to hear the call of birds and the buzz of insects. You expect to smell the sweetness of blooming flowers.

You do however feel the warmth as if June had returned. You see no leaves. You hear no noise in the underbrush. You smell the sickeningly sweet smell of decay as the rot of summer speeds into decomposition across the forest floor.

The pictures in the post were taken during what I assume will be our last taste of Indian Summer, of St. Martin’s Summer, of Babye Leto, of Gypsy Summer or whatever else you may happen to call it. If this truly is the last stand of a fallen season I bid it the kindest farewell. I certainly had a wonderful summer entangled in nature. Bring on the Winter! I swear I can almost hear the old man’s cane tapping at the front door.

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